CWN - As Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continued his crackdown, assuming unprecedented powers through a state of emergency and suspending adherence to a human rights treaty, one of the nation’s bishops said that Catholics are safe because they stay out of politics.
“All the current difficulties are linked to political events, and we don’t touch such issues or take any part in demonstrations,” Bishop Rubén Tierrablanca Gonzalez told Catholic News Service. “Thanks to this, our Church’s members are safe.”
In April, the 63-year-old Franciscan, who hails from Mexico and ministered in El Paso, Rome, and Turkey, was named the Latin-rite apostolic vicar of Istanbul and apostolic administrator of the nation’s Greek Catholics. A curial prelate, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, ordained him a bishop on June 11.
“Of course, we’re not happy about what’s happened, but we’ll continue to encourage and support our faithful,” Bishop Tierrablanca added. “We hope the situation will improve without bringing us further troubles, but there are problems here which can’t be tackled in a short time.”
Turkey is 99.8% Sunni Muslim, and only 47,000 of the nation’s 75 million people are Catholic.